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UNFCCC Conferences: Is Cancún Better Than Copenhangen?


Cancún, Mexico - After the COP 15 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, held in Copenhagen in December 2009, the international community was deeply disappointed at the lack of tangible progress made during this meeting. Owing to both its legal nature, in accordance with the UN system, and its lacking ambition in regard to significant reductions in greenhouse emissions or financial resources for the mitigation and adaptation of vulnerable countries, the Copenhagen document was considered disappointing. What followed was an atmosphere of suspicion and mistrust between the main negotiating groups, particularly between Annex I countries and developing ones. Therefore 2010 in Cancun had among other aims the need to restore confidence and to achieve significant progress.

At the end of the Cancun summit, there is a widespread feeling that the broken bridges have been restored and that the agreement in Cancun is a good basis to conclude a comprehensive agreement at the next COP to be held in 2011 in South Africa.

What were the points of success in Cancun?

A shared vision for long-term cooperative action.  These are at two levels, adaptation level and mitigation level.

1. On adaptation:

- The establishment of a committee on adaptation to promote the implementation of stronger more consistent measures on adaptation (provide technical support to the parties, strengthen information sharing, promoting synergy and provide recommendations)

- Demand that countries submit to the Secretariat by February 2011 their views on the composition, modalities and procedures, including links with other relevant institutional arrangements.

2. In mitigation:

- Nationally appropriate mitigation actions (NAMA's) for developed countries to strengthen reporting in national communications from Parties, including Annex I countries on mitigation objectives and the technical and financial measures taken to assist the countries th developing country Parties.

- Nationally appropriate mitigation actions (NAMA's) for developing countries: the establishment of a registry for domestic mitigation measures for which these countries are seeking support and estimated costs, emission reductions and timing of implementation;

- REDD encourages developing countries to contribute to mitigation in the forestry sector in carrying out work in the following areas: reducing emissions from deforestation, reduction of emissions from forest degradation, conservation of carbon stock forestry, sustainable forest management and strengthening of the carbon stock of forests.  Developing countries should develop action plans or strategies with an emission level forest reference system and a transparent and effective monitoring of forest emissions. These countries will need capacity building and technology transfer.

- Various approaches including the use of other carbon markets are under consideration for COP 17, as one of several mechanisms aimed at strengthening the mitigation actions. In this regard, the African Group believes that this could eventually undermine the Kyoto Protocol and that it must first adopt the second commitment period for Kyoto before establishing new markets.

- Finance, Technology and Capacity Building: the establishment of a green fund for the climate to be managed by a committee of 24 members selected on an equitable and managed by a Director. Technology will be a mechanism in place to facilitate the implementation of selected measures. This mechanism is an executive committee and the technology center and the technology networks on climate

What remains to be done by Durban 2011?

- The Kyoto Protocol - there has been no decision on the second commitment period or on the levels of enlistment in developed countries. We need to find a good consensus on this.

- Balancing commitments of developed countries and developing countries regarding voluntary mitigation actions (NAMAs).

In conclusion, even if we (as the Africa group)  did not get a global agreement, the various elements of sectoral agreements, if maintained, reinforced and expanded by the COP 17,  will lead the world toward a serious agreement on its future climate.


For more information:

Papa Mawade Wade – Policy Advisor – Wetlands International Africa;

CANCUN, 12 décembre 2010


Communications and Media Coordinator

Wetlands International Africa

Phone: +221 33 869 16 81


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